Well folks, here it is.
The grand Grounds Tour of the new Reformation Acres homestead you’ve all been asking for.
It’s a long post and I hope I’ve made everything clear to visualize and understand as I show you the gardens, orchards, pastures, and barn.
What you won’t perceive on this tour are the chirping birds, buzzing of late summer insects, clopping of horses hooves down the road, pounding of the hammer as my husband works on the chicken tractor, clanging of Holly’s bell, or the obnoxious midday calling of guinea and crowing of the rooster. All facets of our new life here that I’m thoroughly enjoying!
~The Kitchen Garden, which is one of several, is about 3 times as big as our last garden. I’m thinking at this point maybe to use it for the food I plan to grow and prepare fresh throughout the summer as it’s probably nearest the kitchen. As a note, I do believe it has lain nearly 100% fallow throughout this season with the exception of some potatoes it looks like were overlooked last harvest. Also in the far right corner is a small patch or rhubarb that will probably come out. All you rhubarb lovers out there, don’t hate me… it’s just not something we care for too much.
~Considering the way the asparagus beetles devoured the baby plants I was trying to nurture, I’m going to assume these have been sprayed because I see absolutely no evidence of infestation. Hopefully, they’ll never find them because I just stand there and stare at the patch and imagine the impossibility of hand-picking beetles and squishing larvae.
~The blackberries are fruiting right now and are amazing (coming from someone who has never had a blackberry before now in her life). The base is covered with black fabric, as are all the berries, which if memory serves does not foster the right environment for a vibrant soil food web. I’ll have to consult my orchard book and see what my mulching options are for brambles. I do believe that wood chips would be warranted here.
~The concord grapes, by all accounts, are just beginning to be ripe. I harvested 14 pounds today… the tip of the iceberg. Guess I’m seeing some low-sugar jams or jellies in my future. I thought I’d try a healthy grape gelatin recipe I saw and juice some for that. Or maybe learn how to make kombucha? I’m learning the trouble with all this fruit we’re being blessed with is all of the sugar that recipes are calling for to preserve them. I don’t mind some sugar, but over the last few years we’ve significantly scaled back on our sugar consumption so when we do get it I notice the ill effects in how everyone feels and behaves (myself in particular).
~See the clothesline?? That, my friends, excites me. Plenty of room for a days washing! No more managing multiple loads throughout the day, draping the deck railings with jeans, and in full sunshine to boot!
~Kitchen Garden facing south.
~I imagine that is a whole row of black raspberries, that is. There is one cane bearing right now. The rest are pretty shabby looking. Perhaps they’re very young?
~The strawberries don’t look so hot either, but neither did mine before we left (thank you chickens.)
~I noticed some butternut squash growing in the garden area, but can’t tell if there is an actual planting through all the weeds. We were discussing last night the possibility of extending the strawberries the whole length of the garden and managing the patch much like our friend Gina at Home Joys does. Perhaps we’ll end up transplanting all of the raspberries over to this area and keep it all berries.
~The end of the property line is around the taller deciduous tree beyond the small white pines you see just right of center. You can kind of see where the pasture is a bit taller than the mown area of the Amish schoolhouse.
~The property is sort of L-shaped. Sometime in the last decade the mown portion on the right was sold and now there is an Amish schoolhouse down on that corner. Last winter, the previous owner gave permission and they tried to dig in a skating pond down in the lower pasture, but apparently no matter how deep they dug, they couldn’t get past the topsoil. They’re coming back this week to fill it in since the area won’t hold water, but for me the take away message is that we’re probably leaching topsoil and nutrients downhill and will have to address that in the future.
~The back pasture doesn’t have permanent fencing except for along the top so for now it will just be cattle running through with polyrope paddocking. I’m not sure how much acreage both of these pastures encompass, but I believe we have somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 acres total pasture.
~From the lower corner facing east.
~From the same corner facing up to the back of the house.
~This is above the back pasture. The overgrown with ragweed compost heap on the right is up against the fencing. The golden raspberries in front of it make little sense to me… you can hardly access the pile. The raspberries on the left take up a portion of the main garden and serve only as a snacking crop for a family of our size. Just another reason why it would make sense to move them over with the rest of the berries and perennial fruits. In his book, The Holistic Orchard, Michael Phillips says that, “Red raspberries and blackberries can asymptomatically (showing no outward sign themselves) carry viruses that severely affect black raspberries. Nurseries typically recommend that these bramble types be kept 100 feet apart, whether cultivated or wild. These viruses are spread by aphids and windblown pollen. Black raspberries will do fine at first but can quickly decline after a mere three to five years,” so I could see the black raspberry patch being transplanted or removed anyway.
~Golden raspberries, overgrown compost, back pasture.~This is the side of the main garden closest to the house. Right now I’m thinking these will be the pantry crops, such as canning tomatoes, sweet corn, squashes, etc… that would go into the winter larder. Maybe I should call it the Pantry Garden… There were a few plants, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, cucumber, some type of decorative gourd growing amongst the weeds along with a volunteer sunflower and a crop of oats throughout this garden.
With these areas being so overgrown with weeds, my favorite hoe broken, and my back not up to the task, the plan is to run the broiler chicks and pigs over these areas the next few weeks and see if they won’t do the job for me in exchange for the tasty bugs, seeds, and greens found in the areas. And that’s to say nothing of what fertility inputs they’ll make.
~A view from the backside of the main garden… facing west and towards the house.
~The 30’x100′ hoophouse/greenhouse you see on the right is ours and intimidates me every time I look at it. I already feel daunted by the level of work it will take to maintain the Kitchen and Pantry Gardens, so to throw the prospect of learning how to garden in the cooler seasons is overwhelming right now. Since I am due to have a baby in January and will be cherishing each and every newborn moment next late winter/early spring, it’s yet to be determined how much actual use I’ll get out of it. Other determining factors would be whether the budget will allow for plastic covering and my husband’s willingness to lend a hand. He’s not much of a gardener (animal husbandry is his forte) but he might still have enough initial enthusiasm remaining after the move to help out with some gardening.
~In front of the main/pantry garden is an orchard area. The plums will be bearing in the next month or so. I guess there were a ton lost to June drop and I see that many have brown rot which looks a lot like they were sprinkled with yeast.
~I’m not sure of the apple varieties. Supposedly one is a Honeycrisp. I forget the other and don’t know which is which.
~The cherries I’m told have yet to bear a crop.
~The line of dirt is from where the electric was put in so orchard expansion will need to be managed to accommodate that, but we’re already talking about where the peach, plum, and more apple trees are going to go. First though, there is a redbud and silver maple to the south between the orchard and pasture that will need to come out. It makes little sense to put especially a tall tree like a silver maple to the south of an orchard.
~From the south, below the back pasture, facing up to the orchard.
~This area is between the greenhouse and the house. The red grapes on the arbor are tagged Swenson grapes, but I don’t know what the green grapes are except they are seeded, supposedly taste much like a concord, and are ready now.
~I also don’t know what type of berry brambles those are… probably raspberries if I had to guess.
~Behind that is an elderberry bush which gave me several gallon bags of elderberries in the freezer to make syrup with one of these days. There are also wild elderberry and berries along the western side of the property line along the woods.
~You can’t really discern it, but there is also a tiny blueberry bush somewhere in that mess too.
~On the north side of the home is the bank barn as well as two pastured areas.
~This is the north side of the home, but facing east. The front pasture is connected to the back pasture with temporary fencing and is FULL of beautiful red clover. This is where we have been blessed with the most glorious sunrises and views. I pray that my sense of awe and wonder at the sights I’m seeing never fades or dulls as long as we are privileged to live here!
~The greenhouse you see will NOT be staying. The previous owner has asked that we keep it here for him and he’ll come get it next year. Honestly, I can’t wait because it blocks my view of the sky from the living room and I can’t see myself putting up a similar structure in the future. I’ll use the land for something much less high profile!
~The front pasture paddock farthest from the driveway (as are the next couple photos). This is the pasture that is directly behind the barn and is joined to the back by the side pasture.
~This is one of my favorite features of the homestead. The type of feature that a gal who would go to look at a home for sale and totally get the bucket of pig slop sitting on the front porch would appreciate. This little structure, my friends if for hoisting up a carcass during the butchering process… say instead of borrowing your uncle’s tractor and bucket… How clever is that??! I know there are many homesteaders raising their own meat, but when it comes to larger livestock not butchering their own. Since we do, I feel like this is so perfect for us!
~This is the front pasture #1 from the driveway, with the #2 being behind it, and in the distance you can see the neighbors horses (which the children love having so close by!)
And finally, here are some miscellaneous photos…
The LONG driveway…
~Along the driveway and in front of the house is this row of trees that doesn’t make sense to me either. There is a redbud, ornamental pear, this crooked little apple tree, and a tiny little crabapple that won’t be nearly as lovely as the one I’m used to enjoying.
So while our new home is abounding in infrastructure to get us started, I still see plenty of areas that we can be reforming and trying to utilize in our attempts to grow food in a natural and God-glorifying way.
I hope you enjoyed the grand tour of our new homestead! If you have any questions or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to speak up!
Emily Swezey says
So Beautiful, I’m sure you will cherish it and put it to good use!
Anne Morrison says
It looks absolutely wonderful! I hope you have many years of fruitfulness – both in the home and outside 🙂
Thank you Anne! I like your choice of words- fruitfulness- because we are amazed at how abundantly blessed with fruit we have been this year. Very few veggies, but LOTS of fruit 🙂 Blessings to you!
What a beautiful place with much room for growth! I have been anxious to see it. As for the black and red raspberries after they are done fruiting they start to get shabby as those shoots will be cut back and the new shoots will produce for the net year. We remove the old ones and tie up the nice green shoots after the fruit is harvested.
We took out all the rhubarb at our old house also, no one likes it here either.
I am in love with all that greenhouse space! You won’t have to carry all of your seedlings around to get them ready to plant and harden them off. Of course you know I want to see the house and barn also. 🙂
Thank you for the berry tip! I am a complete novice when it comes to them (and am paranoid about messing up those too!) and will be putting that on my to-do list for the next couple days. As for the house & barn… well they’re still very much in the process of moving in and therefore very messy 🙂 So in the meantime, for the house at least, imagine oak. Lots and lots of oak! And linoleum floors in the bedrooms! There’s work to be done in here, that’s for sure. 🙂 It’s worth it though and I look forward to making in “mine.” Hope all your canning is going well (and that we get to see some pantry shots when it’s all said and done.)
WOW! I kept thinking “This is so perfect for Quinn’s family! What a blessing! I can’t wait to see how you use this to bless your family and others!
And just a note on asparagus. We have NEVER sprayed our asparagus. In the spring I see a few beetles (and sometimes squash them but not consistently) but if you were to see our asparagus now, you would not see any beetle damage on the VERY lush vegetation. So it is possible yours were not sprayed either and just don’t have beetles badly.
You have no idea how relieved I am to hear that Gina! While I was busy with moving stuff, I forgot to check on the baby asparagus plants and the beetles completely defoliated them. I think my worst fear here is ruining all of the hard work that was put into this land and messing it all up! 🙂 Hope you’re feeling well and not too tired with the harvest!
How delightful! I love that you have an Amish School house so close!
Me too 🙂 I heard them testing the bell this morning… how neat is that?! And because the kids are used to cutting through our yard to get to school, a lot of families have stopped by to ask if that can continue now, so it has been a nice excuse to get to know some of our neighbors 🙂
Quinn, I am so glad to have you still blogging, I don’t think I mentioned that before. I was just a bit sad when you mentioned a while back that you were contemplating stopping (or really slowing down) I always enjoy visiting here. What a beautiful new homestead! God has richly blessed you all. I can’t wait to read of the changes you make and the harvests you have on that pretty land!
I’m glad you’re glad Rachel! 🙂 I struggle often with the “to blog, or not to blog” question, but I think that second guessing myself is a big part of my nature and if it wasn’t blogging it would be something else I would beat myself up over. Thanks so much for the encouragement… helps keep me motivated, that’s for sure 🙂 Blessings to you!
Shaye Elliott says
This is my favorite blog and you are a rockstar. Just so you know.
Love you Shaye! And love all that you’re doing too! In fact I just got a copy of your book today I ordered and can’t wait to do a review/giveaway! I really, really think it is an amazing and beautiful resource. I am so motivated to make more changes in my kitchen now! THANK YOU!!
Rebecca Newman says
And now I have drooled so long and so absolutely that I have become dehydrated.
Awestruck. That’s all. Awe.stinkin’.struck.
That is all I can possibly muster for now. I have no words. (when does this happen?)
Yeah, it’s nice and all, but your homestead is better. Yours has something mine never will- heritage. You just can’t put a price on that! Plus all the blood, sweat, and tears that have gone into since it became yours. It’s funny the things I have to come up with when I’m talking about my internet friends or people whose blogs I read to Bill. For you his memory trigger is, “You know, the lady who moved into her grandma’s house on the long country road.” We have envied that road for a long time! 🙂
Rebecca Newman says
That was very, very generous of you. Thank you for that. I’ll remind myself of that heritage when we are starting from behind-scratch. Heritage. Heritage. 😉
I can’t help but admire those beautiful fenced in pastures, already constructed. That greenhouse (which, even if you don’t find the time to winter garden, will serve as a wonderful early seed starting area! The beautiful birdhouse. The many many gardens. But the real coveteous came at the established fruits. I just went to a local Amish produce auction and spent way.too.much on grapes. We haven’t had homemade grape juice in several years and the temptation was too great but I realized I could have bought twice as much grape juice just from the store and been ahead.. I came home sick to my stomach thinking how if I had only used that money to buy grapevines instead….
this must be a priority. It MUST be.
(I’ve said that before though.)
I appreciated what you said in response to a previous commenter about envy. We have had a bit of that reminder ourselves these days because my husband is a twin and his twin happens to make triple digits and wanted only one child so he could afford all his ‘toys’ and he gets every tool, machine and tractor he wants the minute he wants it while my poor husband who works so hard to provide for his large(er) family isn’t capable of reaching even his modest dreams of owning things like a bandmill. (that was a runon. bigtime.) Sigh. As I told him, it sometimes takes the ugliness of envy to make us realize how ungrateful and blind we are for the huge blessings we already have.
God is good. Giving us things to help us grow and not giving us things to help us grow, He is good in all of it.
So pretty! Congratulations! Would love to see more house pictures as well. 🙂
Anne Marie says
It’s quite possible that is a perfect setup. Beautiful home and barn – and I think I too would be elated to have a butcher shed…heck…a smoke house would be perfect attached to it. When I look around your property, and see all the possibilities and how you found something so well suited to you…I do wonder if you have anything you do not like?
moving to a new location, uprooting your family and establishing roots elsewhere….
did I miss a part in a post where you shared with us the ‘why’ of moving? did your husband find work somewhere near this new farm??
(yes…I do have a bit of questions…I hope you don’t mind).
xo + blessings,
p.s. very glad to see your prayers were answered and that you are glorifying Him with your hard work
Hmmm… what do I not like… Well I suppose it is a bit of a fishbowl. I’m not used to being able to see or be so seen by the neighbors. I’ve learned how incredibly nosy my kids are always commenting on what others are doing 🙂 When they bring me a tidbit, I just respond, ” Be not a busybody in other mens matters.” so at least it’s an opportunity. I find myself thinking about where a little cluster of pines would do us best.
Along the same lines, because we lived on such a busy road with near constant semi-truck traffic, our volume buttons are turned up on high! 🙂 Let’s put it this way, we echo now. That is temporary though as we adjust and more of a blessing in the end because I for one hated yelled *at* my children when I wasn’t angry and just wanted them to be able to hear me.
Those are just a couple things off the top of my head.
It was a hodgepodge of reasons, but we do heartily believe it was the Lord’s will. 🙂 Blessings to you Anne Marie!
Oh and chicken poo on the front porch!! I hate that! I really thought that giving them 3x’s the acreage to roam they’d leave us alone, but alas, they still congregate on the front porch and sidewalk much to my embarrassment and chagrin! I have at times considered over the last few weeks culling the whole flock and starting over with ones that don’t have the front-porch-imprint in their tiny little brains. We’re trying all kinds of things to contain them into the pasture, but they always find a way out. Grrr!!
Lol, yes I remember you voicing this hope before. I hoped maybe they would leave you alone, but ours have 16 acres…and still the porch is covered in chicken poo! No wonder you were afraid to get excited about living at this place! I hope the house is nice too. I read somewhere a long time ago simple directions for making grape juice concentrate by stuffing your jars a full as possible covering with water and water bathing. Then straining whenever you want to use it, and adding sugar to taste. You might could find better directions on-line somewhere. Never had the chance to try it myself. Shoot me your new e-mail when you can. Prayers and blessings!c
Well, let me tell you in case you ever decided to try containing them… goat fencing (with the 4×4″ squares) doesn’t work. Most of the time, they’re sneaking out behind my back, but I did get a chance to see a 2-3yo Barred Rock slip right through a hole with ease. It was shocking!
I’ve been googling around the last few days trying to figure out what to do with the grapes (first batch I just followed the directions at the national food preservation whatever place) and did see that method. I want to think that’s how my aunt & grandma do it too.
A couple kids and Bill sampled it last night and said it was needing sweetened pretty badly and Jared and I are fighting about it cause I don’t stock any juice here and can’t see myself going through the effort to making a sweetened drink when I’d rather they’d rehydrate themselves with water or milk. Jared and I fight about sugar a lot though which is interesting since he more than anyone can’t handle it. Doesn’t surprise me considering the diet I fed him as a child. (Trix??!!? What was I thinking? Or was I??) I might justify it if I could learn to make kombucha or if it was a way to get them some gelatin. So I’m leaning towards trying those with it after seeing how that pomona pectin works for jelly/jams.
Anyway, the email stayed the same. When we switched internet providers, I kept waiting for the email to stop working but it hasn’t so far 🙂 I’ve been meaning to write you and am sorry I haven’t gotten around to it yet :/ My thoughts and prayers are with you though! Love, Quinn
Kumbucha and grape juice together is really good!
Such an amazing place! Can’t wait to see how you help shape it in due time
Tangi the Caver's Wife says
I love it, I love it, I love it! I so cherish and respect the Amish. We live near a community that I frequent. Though I don’t agree with their religion (I’m a sinner saved by grace and know that is not of works), I highly respect their dedication to living a sinless life and surrounding themselves with God’s creation. I’m a homesteader wannabe that lives on a 1 1/2 acre lot in a subdivision in south central Kentucky. Where I can have chickens, and domesticated pets, farming isn’t in the cards for us. However, I do have the beginnings of an orchard and we have a big garden. I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog and can’t wait to see what awaits in your new homesteading journey.
You know this topic is really interesting to me right now. I’m sure that like with anything else different communities hold to different beliefs. They seem just as much like protestants with all of their denominations- for example the last midwife I had delivered the Amish in NW PA and spoke of their embarrassment over pregnancy and childbirth and that they hide the pregnancy and then themselves when it’s no longer possible whereas I met one neighbor and we freely spoke of pregnancy, childbirth, and birth stories 🙂 So I don’t wonder that a lot of the notion that they are works based isn’t quite what it seems or at least universal.
Bill has had way more dealings with them than I have since he’s out and about more (and generally more social than I am 🙂 ) and has seemed to have struck up quite a bond of friendship with the Amish man from whom we purchased Holly. He was telling me last night that he had a conversation with the man yesterday (they went to go buy pigs together) about this very thing and that it’s a multi-faceted issue of Christianity, culture preservation (which this man feels his community is losing as fathers find work outside of their homes), as well as keeping themselves from the temptations to sin that technology presents. They talked about salvation through Christ alone and about the unsaved in the community. It was interesting to hear his perspective. I will say this much, I can think of only one other Christian young man he used to work with and has kept up a friendship over the years with whom he has been able to have such deep conversations and so I’m thankful that he has been able to find that here already. I’m sure it will be quite a blessing to him.
Anyway, a year ago we sat around dreaming of full-time farming, home-based economics, and large acreage. The reality is that isn’t the Lord’s will for us and we’re learning to be content with pseudo-farming 🙂 I’m sure you’ve heard of that family out in CA that provides all their food on 1/6th of an acre or something like that… consider yourself challenged and I’m sure that you’ll be blessed by what you can be provided on your acre & a half!
Rebecca Newman says
Your comments are so interesting to read! I hope you don’t mind me jumping on this one because I have recently been reading about this very thing! For many years (indeed, up until a few months ago) I believed that the Amish were more a cult (a cult with good morals and motivations that I admired, but without a Saviour.) Then I read a book called Almost Amish in which the author spoke about them in very Christian terms. Up until that point, I understood that they believed they were “saved by works” people but this new perspective intriqued me so I started researching it a bit more. From what I gather now, it seems as though Amish actually believe Jesus died for their sins and that their salvation comes through Him but the outworking of their faith requires more of them. I don’t know for sure, I am still in the midst of reading on it. There is one more book I would like to read on the subject called The Riddle of Amish Culture. We too live in an area with a fair amount of Amish and it would be nice to have a foundation on which to talk to them.
I think that it will be a huge blessing to you also, Quinn, because the Amish have values much more like our own than pretty much everyone else and they are also very helpful when it comes to learning ‘tips’ and ways of doing things. This will be a great thing.
I don’t mind at all, in fact I welcome it. 🙂 I’m glad to hear your take on the subject! I had that book on my to-read list for quite a while now and haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. If it does clear up misconceptions, I’m glad that it’s been brought to the general public’s awareness. I think it’s pretty sad that we can be much more ecumenical with other denominations or whatever who have really different views than ourselves because they look more like us and that makes us more comfortable than we can be with these brothers and sisters in Christ who might give us pause, causing us to ponder our worldliness. Perhaps I’ll pick it up soon as well as the other one you suggested. Hope you’re having a lovely weekend!
Amanda W says
This is such a beautiful homestead. It looks like you’re in my neck of the woods – Amish country, Ohio. Are you by chance, in Ohio? I’ve read your blog for at least a year now, and I’m always saying to my husband, “look at this!” or “We could totally do it this way.” Thanks for all your photos. It’s exactly what we’d love to acquire some day, but land prices in our county are just a bit too high for us to think of moving off of this less-than-one acre home just yet. Perhaps soon. 🙂
Thank you Amanda and yes we do 🙂 I’m glad that you’ve felt inspired by reading here! Keep looking, you never know what will pop up that you can afford… one of the things that was such a blessing is that this place is that it was so much more affordable than other, less desirable options. May the Lord bless richly bless you!
Your new homestead is brimming with possibilities! What a wonderful blessing! I’ve been following your blog for a few months now, and enjoy reading your posts. I appreciate that you rely on the Lord to provide for you and your family and that you want to glorify Him in all things.
Here is a thought on homemade jams:
This summer, for the first time, I tried my hand at preserving many types of fruit jams, and I agree with you–there is way too much sugar in the regular recipes, which is not the healthiest choice–not to mention the expense of buying the sugar. So, I decided to buy no sugar/low-sugar pectin, which calls for fruit juice in place of sugar. I didn’t want to buy any juice because I wanted the jam to be as cost-efficient as possible. So I got to thinking and realized that cantaloupes and watermelons are full of juice and I grow them in our garden. Every time I cut open a cantaloupe, I save the juice and store it in a jar in the freezer. Soon I will be making blueberry jam and plan on using the cantaloupe juice as a natural sweetener. If the jam sets well and tastes good, I will continue making jam that way.
I LOVE this idea!! I’ve never tried growing melons before (I knew my limitations of space, shade, and day length in the last place) but I might have to give this a try. That is if I could keep the melons from being devoured first 🙂 You’ll have to come back and let me know how this stroke of brilliance turns out for you. Pretty please, with no/low sugar on top 😉
Tangi the Caver's Wife says
That IS a great tip! I’ve just gone off of sugars and was wondering what to do when I can my apples, pears, and peaches when they start coming in in a few years. Thanks!
Your new place is beautiful! The barn. The berries. The birdhouse. Oh, the CLOTHESLINE! ;o) Just lovely. Glad you are settling in just in time for Autumn. Thanks for sharing it all!
Leah T. says
I love it! And I must admit to being a wee bit jealous. Its wonderful to have so many established fruit trees and bushes! And the greenhouse/hoophouse is amazing!!! Thank you for sharing. 🙂
I so enjoyed the virtual tour!!! It appears to me that your family, being found faithful with a couple acres, has been given an abundant gift and one that matches the desires of your hearts to glorify the Giver in this new endeavor! Isn’t it amazing to think, He knew all along your family would come to be there and began preparing it, through the previous owners, for your arrival 😉
I’m only 18 right now, but I don’t care how hard I have to work; if God ever blessed me with a setup like that I’d be the happiest woman alive!
Ah, your comment has cut me to the quick… O wretched (wo)man that I am, I have not been as completely thankful and grateful as I ought to have been since having come here. Not too long after moving in, I visited my baby sister’s newly built, amazingly and tastefully decorated home and found that the next day discovered an evil root of jealousy and discontentment had taken hold. Thankfully the Lord used faithful preaching He had put in my ear days before this hidden ugliness of my heart bubbled over to convict me and renew a right spirit within me and now I’m back on track knowing the blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich and by His grace will not stumble again! May God be pleased to give you the desires of your heart one day and that you might not be so foolish as I am!
Wow, you are REALLY good with words!! 🙂 Thanks! I was nearly drooling over your pictures. 🙂
I am in love with your property! May I ask how it came to be that the Amish parted with such a place? I grew up around the Amish, and it seemed like all their homes and land always stayed within their own community. I am sorry you had a rough start with the move, but am thrilled for you and can’t wait to hear about all you do there.
Hi Jill! That was one of my first questions too, thinking something had to be wrong with it for them to be leaving and no one else from the community buying it. They moved down to KY along with another family to start a new community there. Their extended family was supposed to go down too I gather, but health problems have postponed or possibly cancelled that plan so for now, they’re actually renting next door. 🙂 I’m sure us being here has to be so weird for them. I’d almost like to be a fly on their wall as they watch what we’re up to, and how we’re probably doing everything wrong, but then on the other hand, I wouldn’t understand what they were saying to each other anyway ;D Super excited for you and your children, by the way. I’m so impressed after reading Hannah’s list of verses etc.. she had to memorize. She is one amazing little girl. You sure are blessed!
I have so enjoyed reading this post and seeing pictures of your new farm! It is beautiful!! So perfect for your family and every photograph you posted is just a picture! I love that you are near the Amish. I’m sure I have a rather romanticised view of them as all the info I have is second hand, but I find their lifestyle so interesting ( in fact Ellie is reading a book about a little Amish girl and commented just this morning that she would like to be Amish for a day). Your pastures are lovely and so very lush. I also love the carcass hanging structure. We have something similar here only on a much smaller scale. We do have chains in the trees for bigger animals – maybe we will try it one day, but for now the butcher is so much quicker and he has a coolroom (we would have to hire one as the temperatures just aren’t reliably cool enough to hang for a week or so). Ellie only had one problem with your pictures and that is because Hannah wasn’t in any of them -otherwise she agrees that everything is beautiful!! I just can’t wait to see what you guys do with this amazing place and your gardens…. I can’t wait to be inspired!! Have a wonderful day and thank you for opening your homestead!
Sounds like your structure would be good for doing hogs since it’s smaller. I guess ours will barely be big enough when Gus’s day comes. We’ll see this winter, I suppose. I know some butchers do, but you don’t have to hang pork. I’ve had it both ways and personally, it all tastes the same to me. (I thought the same thing with the Berkshires- they were supposed to be some top-of-the-line-quality-tasting meat, but it tastes a lot like pork to me. ;D I’ll always encourage you to try your hand at butchering your own hogs simply because I love doing it so much! (I still can’t believe I can truthfully say that!) I think it would be more so with you because you could then literally have had complete control and management over the life of your meat from birth to death. We just got feeder pigs and it’s sad to think this is their first time in fresh sun and air and soil where they can use their noses and run around if they want to. Anyway, I threw a picture in the last post with Hannah petting the piggies just for Ellie 🙂 I also suggested if she gets a little time to drop her a note! Take Care!
I didn’t know that about pork. We got our pigs done and they hung for a week, but then we also got some lambs done and so did our friends at the same time. We had so much troubles getting someone to do it ( mainly because we wanted bacon) that we started investigating how to do it ourselves. We are glad this time though that we didn’t because the pigs were left too long and one took three shots to get down. We couldn’t find anyone to do bacon for us though so we are in the middle of experimenting with doing it ourselves (and hams). Have you done it before? Any advice?
We will possibly be butchering one of the younger piglets soon for a spit roast for a friend, but it certainly doesn’t seem as scary as starting with cutting up a whole one (baby steps…).
Are you going to get breeding pigs? It is exciting to know they have spent every day of their life on the farm ( or frolicking along the side of the highway as a policeman reported to me recently- gave me nightmares).
Thanks Leah. I’ll go and check that out now. We have our first piece brining so smoking is going to happen in the next couple of days. 🙂
No plans on breeding pigs at this point, although I know we’d all love to try some day. Do you sell some of yours or keep them all for raise up? If the former, do you find that selling them offsets the cost of keeping a sow around all year?
We do make our own bacon & ham. The bacon is very simple to do, but we haven’t hit gold with a recipe yet. I think at least. Passable, perhaps better than the butcher shop even, but not to-die-for bacon. Basically though you rub it with a salt & sugar mixture and stick it in the fridge for a couple days, flipping daily, rinse, smoke, & slice. We don’t worry about actual preservation since it’s just going into the freezer. (I listened to Leah’s husband interview Michael Bunker about smoking meat and though I haven’t clicked through on that link yet, he was saying they do it where the meat actually gets preserved)
Hams I think are trickier. We did bone-in last year and there is more risk of spoilage if the area around the bone isn’t properly cured. We did a wet cure and they ended up coming out of the brine and spoiling so this year we did boneless which means smaller hams, but no bones to deal with. Again, I didn’t care for the recipe (but then again, ham isn’t my favorite thing) we used so I don’t have anything definitive to share, but both CAN be done without the help of a butcher.
Well our first attempt at bacon was a dismal failure, but we think it’s the brine we used. It was just tooooo….salty :(. Thankfully we just started with a small part & froze the rest in smaller pieces so we can keep experimenting ( the second piece is defrosting so we’ll try again this weekend. Our ham is deboned ( I’m fairly sure) so hopefully it will work. It’s brining so we really don’t need to do anything more, but we would like to smoke it a little while to give it a nice flavour. If we find a good, tasty method I’ll share it with you, but I’m not holding too much hope with this being our first attempt 🙂 Have a lovely day & thanks for the return comment about Hannah’s skirt ( on another post) ~ I think I’ll try making a couple for Ellie for summer!
You look like you are in my neck of the woods in Ohio! With the grapes… I make quarts and quarts of grape juice with our grapes. Throw 2 cups of washed concords in a jar, 1/4-1/3 cup of sugar on that, and then top with boiling water. Can and then let sit 6 weeks weeks. Strain when pouring into cup. It’s so fast.
Why thank you for the suggestion- that sounds incredibly simply. Much easier than what I tried and without the mess too 🙂 I’m glad to be joining you then in this neck of the woods because it is absolutely beautiful here. I love it!! Blessings 🙂
So do you live in ohio? would you share what part? as in in the north, south, west or east side of ohio. We currently live on northeast side of Ohio, by cleveland. But Lord willing, we will be moving soon to a 30 acre farm! A big difference from 1/3 of an acre!
Our family spend a LOT of time with the amish! Homesville, and ALL over down there. My mom is a chiropractor, and we go down about once a week to see patients (95% of them are amish). She has seen up to 28 in a day! Anyhow we also get raw milk, raw cheese, and eggs and lots of other produce from down there. Both for us and many other familys.
There are some buchers down in Amish country that does all natural bacon with just celery as there “nitrate”.
We cannot wait to finally be able to produce more things on our own. (we already have chickens).
The sad part about moving is that we are leaving all of our fruit trees and bushes about 30 of them behind, we will have to start all over again!
Anna, I’m going to be emailing you this afternoon after I get these kiddos down for a nap…